“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Ottawa in La Salle County, Illinois — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)

Lincoln the Litigator

Looking for Lincoln

Lincoln the Litigator Marker image. Click for full size.
May 11, 2013
1. Lincoln the Litigator Marker
Inscription. On this site stood the Third LaSalle County Courthouse. Actually the second courthouse to be erected at this location, the Third LaSalle County Courthouse was completed in the latter part of 1841. It was a two-story brick structure, with imposing columns at the south end and a cupola capped by a weather vane. It was a grand improvement over the earlier courthouse structures made of logs. The Third LaSalle County Courthouse was the scene of much social as well as legal activity. The Illinois State Constitution of 1848 established three grand divisions of the Illinois Supreme Court, and the Northern Division was to be located at Ottawa. As there was no building provided for this use, the Supreme Court held its sessions at the LaSalle County Courthouse when it convened. This arrangement continued until the erection of a separate Supreme Court building, which was not completed until 1860.

Built during the height of the canal period, the LaSalle County Courthouse is an expression of the era. Abraham Lincoln practiced law at this courthouse in his day as a frontier lawyer. The Greek Revival Building was destroyed in the Great Ottawa Fire of 1881 and replaced with the present courthouse. This illustration is from the 1948 I&M Canal Centennial project. Caption reprinted from Canal Town by Larry Natta, Ottawa Visitors Center, Inc.

It is known that Abraham Lincoln of the then established partnership of Lincoln and Herndon argued a case before the Supreme Court in Ottawa, beginning June 11, 1851, and lasting for six days. On December 3, 1852, Lincoln again arrived in Ottawa as an Illinois-Michigan Canal Commissioner to hear claims against the construction of the canal. For four days the commissioners occupied the office of the sheriff in the courthouse, carrying out his duty. Abraham Lincoln's final appearance at the old courthouse took place the night of the first Lincoln-Douglas Debate, August 21, 1858, when a rally organized by prominent local Republicans was held within its halls. The Third Courthouse was demolished in 1881 to make room for the imposing structure that stands here today.
Erected 2009 by Looking for Lincoln Heritage Coalition.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Looking for Lincoln marker series.
Location. 41° 20.801′ N, 88° 50.544′ W. Marker is in Ottawa, Illinois, in La Salle County. Marker is at the intersection of West Madison Street and La Salle Street (Illinois Route 23), on the right when traveling east on West Madison Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 119 W Madison St, Ottawa IL 61350, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 5 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. First Lincoln-Douglas Debate (approx. 0.2 miles away); Washington Square (approx. 0.2 miles away); Lincoln and Douglas Debate (approx. 0.2 miles away); a different marker also named The First Lincoln-Douglas Debate (approx. 0.2 miles away); William D. Boyce (approx. 1.3 miles away).
Categories. PoliticsWaterways & Vessels
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on May 13, 2013. This page has been viewed 335 times since then and 15 times this year. Photo   1. submitted on May 13, 2013. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.
Editor’s want-list for this marker. A wide shot of the marker and its surroundings. • Can you help?
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